Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Outsiders

I'm listening to the Outsiders by SE Hinton, read by Jim Fyfe. I love this story tape and I wanted my partner to hear it, so we're listening to it before bed each night.

I first listened to The Outsiders when I was in Grade 5. My sister and I lay on our bunk beds and listened to the whole thing in an afternoon, absolutely mesmerised. We then made all our friends listen to it and played 'The Outsiders' at recess, which mainly involved pretending to jump people and saying "Need a haircut greaser" a lot.

I'm now listening to the exact same recording, which is lucky because I couldn't stand hearing another narrator read it. For me, Jim Fyfe's voice is integral to the book. I once read The Outsiders and it was impossible to stop hearing his voice.

Listening to the audio book after all this time, I really want to join in on phrases like "Paul Newman and a ride home" in a terrible American accent. But I don't, because I'm sure would be very annoying.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Last night I actually watched the first hour of the Tour de France coverage on SBS. After listening to 13 episodes of the Sag Wagon podcasts (which are best described as coverage of SBS's coverage of the Tour de France) it was almost strange to find out that the SBS coverage really exists in its own right, and not just as described by the Sag Wagon team.

It was a bit like when I went to New York for the first time - I'd heard so much about it and watched so many films and shows set in New York that various places in the city seemed familiar. But at the same time, on the whole it was different from how I'd imagined and therefore strange to me.

That's how I felt watching the Tour last night. Of course it didn't help that SBS decided not to include Taste le Tour or Keenan's breakaway commentary last night. Apparently that had even seasoned viewers feeling confused and homesick. It was like they'd ripped the Statue of Liberty down.

Before last night I intellectually knew that SBS was covering the Tour de France, but I didn't completely believe it. Just like New York was a backdrop for films, not a real place. Now I've seen it, I'm sure it's there. Whether I believe in France is a completely different matter...

Friday, July 15, 2011


The Sag Wagon podcasts, which I've been listening to every day, are basically coverage of SBS's coverage of the Tour de France. As someone who cannot be arsed staying up to watch the Tour, but would still like to be informed every time a commentator mixes a metaphor or a farmer makes a giant sculpture out of cow poo, I appreciate this.

But not everyone has the time, inclination or ability to listen to a podcast. So for those people...

Podcast 11 was a return to form for the Sag Wagon team following a workman like Podcast 10. Host Sam Pang (stranger in a strange land ie knows nothing about cycling) and Dave Culbert (don't call him a former Olympian) opened with a solid gambit about the tour starting tomorrow in the mountains, as opposed to a week and a half ago when, to the untrained eye, the tour appeared to start. This provided the fuel and the theme for the rest of the podcast.

We saw a relaxed attitude to the agenda in Episode 11. As Sophie Smith (actually knows something and isn't afraid to show it) delivered the News the conversation naturally diverted to Podium Watch, Where did Tony Martin Finish and Aussie Watch. This worked well for them, and we may hear more of this in the future.

This episode was really all about consolidating already established names, including Greipel as the Baby Gorilla and the original Thor Hushovd, God of Thunder. Sophie Smith did not gain any new names and remains solid as the Lois Lane of Cycling, Agent 86 and the Jana Wendt of Cycling.

Did Sophie Smith go to Sleep?
This is the question I am always asking. The way I heard it, no. Although she did take a little Googling break to look up the definition of a viscount, she was, to my ear, conscious throughout the podcast. This was good to hear after a disappointing Episode 10 where she faded after delivering the News and probably nodded off.

So, that's my take on the coverage of the coverage. So I bet reading this is almost like being at the Tour, yes?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Men crying update

At the moment I'm following the Tour de France through SBS's Sag Wagon podcasts. They only go for about 30 minutes each, but when they're over I look up the footage they've talked about and it pretty much provides enough audio visual fun for a whole evening.

Last week I listed my top men crying moments. Well, I can add another one to the list today. Johnny Hoogerland cried while receiving the polka dot jersey. And having just watched the accident footage, I can see why. It is amazing that he managed to get up from that crash at all, let alone finish the stage and get on the podium.

It's a rest day on the Tour now so the Sag Wagon are also taking a break. Luckily, I can always fall back on that other great competitive spectacle for excitement, Toddlers and Tiaras. It's got the determination, it's got the spills, it's got just as much fake tan and just as little body hair. And as the pageant parents say, beauty pageants are just like sport. It's so easy to judge, but how is getting your five year old's eyebrows waxed any different from buying them a bike and putting Spokey Dokes in the wheels?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tour de France

I don't have a story tape on the go at the moment, which is unusual for me. This is because I have replaced audiobooks with the Tour de France. Not actually watching the Tour. No, I need my eight hours. Instead I am listening the SBS podcasts, The Sag Wagon.

They are quite funny.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Men crying

I've just listened to an audiobook Coping with Grief based on an ABC radio series produced in 1995.

The take home message for me was that it is often not helpful to try to make grieving people feel better. Instead we should support people as they go through the natural but painful emotions and physical reactions of grief.

Coping with Grief included interviews with people who were experiencing grief along with experts and counsellors. It was good stuff, but I found myself misting up several times.

I am a big cryer. I once cried at the preview of Pocahontas. There was something about the way the leaves swirled around the Pocahontas' feet combined with the music that choked me up.

I find crying very helpful and it makes me worried that some people feel like they shouldn't do it. All of the experts interviewed in Coping with Grief talked about the problems caused by the stigma against men crying or talking about their emotions. The show was produced 15 years ago so I really hope things are starting to change.

I once saw an advertisement for men's moisturizer that encouraged men to "dare to care". Similarly, TAC used to advertise "power naps" rather than "nanna naps" to appeal to the tuckered out male driver. We probably need a manly name for crying like Tears of Steel.

I certainly don't think less of men when they cry. If anything, it can make me like them more. Here are my top men crying moments.

1. Kevin Rudd's "blub" when he was given the boot as Prime Minister. I was quite happy about having a female Prime Minister but his speech made me blub too.

2. When Ian James got hit by a ball in the face in Grade 4 during a game of rounders. I saw him cry and pretend not to. I fell in love.

3. In Dead Poets' Society when Charlie comes to tell Todd that Niels is dead. Charlie is crying. As was I. Actually, more like sobbing hysterically.

4. In Year 10 I went to the International Student Conference (aka the International Nerd Convention). My school's group had a fantastic week in Melbourne working with a school from Pretoria and we were devastated when it was over. We knew we'd never see the Pretorians again. On the way to the train station where we said goodbye one of the boys sat by himself and stared out the window of the tram. But you could see in the reflection that he cried.